Syllabus

HIST 7040 Issues and Interpretation in Public History
Kathryn Wilson
Tuesday 4:30-7:00 PM
25 Park Place Room 2040
Office Hours
By appointment
Room 2107, 25 Park Place
Email: kewilson@gsu.edu
404-413-5148

Description

Public history, or historical work for and with the public outside an academic setting, is a distinctive interdisciplinary field that unites theory and practice, values both traditional and non-traditional evidence, pursues a variety of presentation formats, reframes historical questions and narratives, and engages the public in collaborative inquiry and representation. Inherently collaborative, public history draws on history, ethnography, design, archeology, education, public policy, and multimedia, and its practitioners include museum professionals, government and business historians, historical consultants, archivists and librarians, teachers, cultural resource managers, curators, film and media producers, policy advisors, oral historians, preservationists, and many others.

This course is intended as an introduction to key theoretical, methodological, and practical issues related to creating history by, for, and with a wider public, including questions of audience and authority in presenting history; the relationship between history and memory; the politics and ethics of public history; and models of community engagement. This course is designed for, but not limited to, students who might consider work in the varied fields of public history.

Course Learning Objectives

Through this course students will:

  • Develop a working knowledge of various contexts and media for public history interpretation
  • Comprehend a variety of themes and issues as they manifest in public history practice, such as memory and commemoration, heritage, cultural representation, civic engagement, and shared authority
  • Learn how to identify and measure the meaning and impact of public history activities
  • Become aware of strategies for engaging diverse stakeholders in public history planning and programming

Course materials

The following books can be purchased:

Nina Simon, The Art of Relevance (Museum 2.0, 2016).

Marcella Wells, Barbara Butler, and Judith Koke, Interpretive Planning for Museums: Integrating Visitor Perspectives in Decision Making (Left Coast Press, 2013).

Lisa Brochu, Interpretive Planning: The 5M Model for Successful Planning Projects. Second edition (InterPress, 2014). 

Fitzhugh Brundage, The Southern Past: A Clash of Race and Memory (Belknap/Harvard University Press, 2005)

Hurley, Andrew. Beyond Preservation: Using Public History to Revitalize Inner Cities (Temple University Press, 2010)

Annie E. Coombes, History After Apartheid: Visual Culture and Public Memory in a Democratic South Africa (Duke University Press, 2003).

 Michel-Rolph Trouillot, Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History. Second edition. (Boston: Beacon Press, 2015).

Amy K. Levin, Defining Memory: Local Museums and the Construction of History in America’s Changing Communities (Alta Mira, 2007)

Other materials will be available on iCollege or through electronic reserves (ERes).

Course Requirements

  1. In -class participation: Active participation in class is expected including: completing discussion assignments, sharing information and news on public history activities, contributing to peer project development, critical discussion of readings, and regular attendance.
  2.  Blogging participation:Students are expected to post weekly on the course blog and comment on each other’s posts. URL: issuespublichistory.wordpress.com Blogging is an excellent way to augment class participation for more introverted types.
  3. Short writing assignments:
  • Past meets Present: In this short reflection paper, choose a historical event, figure, issue, or topic that has resonance and relevance for today. Discuss the connections between past and present and suggest how and why that topic could engage the public.
  • Site Analysis: Visit a historic site, museum, or other public history venue and write an analysis of the site experience and interpretation, including signage, content, and visitor interaction.
  1. Final group project: Interpretive Plan for the City of Avondale Estates

The class will create an interpretive plan for the City of Avondale Estates, a historic suburban community east of Atlanta. Avondale Estates is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as the first planned community in the Southeast. Your assignment will be to work with the city, residents, businesses, and other key stakeholders to outline key themes and potential storylines, assess audiences, and identify local sources of historical materials.

 Grading

Letter grades will be calculated in this course according to the following weights:
Participation (includes class discussion, attendance, and blogging) – 30%
Site analysis –15%
Past meets Present reflection – 15%
Final project–40%

Attendance in class is required and will count as part of your grade. Please let me know in advance if you need to miss class; you will be responsible for making up any work missed due to absence. Missing more than three classes without an excuse will result in a lowered grade. In dire circumstances paper extensions can be considered; be prepared to document your emergency.

In the event that you wish to dispute your grade, please submit the request and rationale for the change in writing to me within one week of receipt.

Other Policies

 Academic Honesty: Plagiarism will be dealt with in accordance with University Policy on Academic Honesty (Section 409). You can review this policy at: http://www2.gsu.edu/~wwwdos/codeofconduct_conpol.html. Plagiarized work will receive an automatic F with no credit and will be reported to the Dean’s Office, at minimum.

Withdrawals: Be advised that the last day to withdraw from a course with the possibility of receiving a ‘W’ is 10/10/17. If a student withdraws by this date but is failing the course, he/she will receive a ‘WF.’ All students who withdraw after this date will receive a ‘WF.’

Evaluations: Your constructive assessment of this course plays an indispensable role in shaping education at Georgia State University. Upon completing the course, please take the time to fill out the online course evaluation. I appreciate your feedback.

Disability Services: Students who wish to request accommodation for a disability may do so by registering with the Office of Disability Services. Students may only be accommodated upon issuance by the Office of Disability Services of a signed Accommodation Plan and are responsible for providing a copy of that plan to instructors of all classes in which an accommodation is sought. Please inform me if you have a documented disability that needs to be accommodated.

Schedule of Topics and Readings*

*The course syllabus provides a general plan for the course; I reserve the right to make changes as necessary.

8/22/17           Introduction to the course- What is public history?

Sign up for WordPressH-PublicMHP listserv

Check out History@Work Blog, the National Council on Public History blog

David Glassberg, “A Sense of History” in Sense of History: The Place of the Past in American Life (University of Massachusetts Press, 2001), 3-22. (iCollege)

Gardner, James B. “Contested Terrain: History, Museums, and the Public.” The Public Historian 26, no. 4 (2004): 11-21. (iCollege)

Frisch, Michael. A Shared Authority: Essays on the Craft and Meaning of Oral and Public History (State University of New York Press, 1990), xv-xxiii. (iCollege)

 8/29/17           Shared authority: History in/for/with the public

Jürgen Habermas, “The Public Sphere: An Encyclopedia Article,” New German Critique No. 3 (Autumn 1974), pp. 49-55 (iCollege)

Gary Nash, “For Whom Will the Liberty Bell Toll? From Controversy to Cooperation,” in Slavery and Public History: The Tough Stuff of American Memory, ed. James Oliver Horton and Lois E. Horton (The New Press, 2006), 75-101. (iCollege)

Kohn, Richard. “History and the Culture Wars: The Case of the Smithsonian Institution’s Enola Gay Exhibit.” Journal of American History 82:3 (December 1995): 1036-1063. (iCollege)

Readings on Confederate memorials (iCollege)

Katherine T. Corbett and Howard S. Dick Miller, “A Shared Inquiry Into Shared Inquiry,” The Public Historian 28.1 (Winter, 2006) 15-28. (iCollege)

9/5/17             Stakeholders and strategies: Interpretive planning

Marcella Wells, Barbara Butler, Judith Koke, Interpretive Planning for Museums: Integrating Visitor Perspectives in Decision Making (Left Coast Press, 2015), pp. 13-101; 129-140

“Planning for Interpretation and Visitor Experience” http://www.nps.gov/hfc/pdf/ip/interp-visitor-exper.pdf (iCollege)

Brochu, Lisa. Interpretive Planning: The 5M Model for Successful Planning Projects (InterPress, 2003), 1-40; 51-106.

Select interpretive plans (iCollege)

**Meet at City Hall, Avondale Estates

9/12/17           Memory, heritage, and power: History and public memory

Michel-Rolph Trouillot, Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History. Second edition. (Boston: Beacon Press, 2015).

**Past meets Present reflection due

9/19/17           Memory, heritage, and power: The American South

Fitzhugh Brundage, The Southern Past: A Clash of Race and Memory (Belknap/Harvard University Press, 2005)

9/26/16           Display and storytelling: Exhibitions and museums

Margaret Lindauer, “The Critical Museum Visitor,” in Janet Marstine, ed., New Museum Theory and Practice: An Introduction (Malden, MA, 2006) 203-225. (iCollege)

Tony Bennett, “The Exhibitionary Complex” new formations 4 (Spring I988): 73-102. (iCollege)

Tammy S. Gordon, “Heritage, Commerce, and Museal Display: Toward a New Typology of Historical Exhibition in the United States,” The Public Historian 30.3 (August, 2008) 27-50. (iCollege)

Barbara Kirschenblatt-Gimblett, “Destination Museum” in Destination Culture: Tourism, Museums, and Heritage (University of California Press, 1998), 131-176. (ERes)

10/3/16          Local history and local museums

Amy K. Levin, Defining Memory: Local Museums and the Construction of History in America’s Changing Communities, 2nd edition (Alta Mira, 2017)

10/10/17         Relevance and provocation

Freeman Tilden, “Principles of Interpretation,” in Interpreting our Heritage (University of North Carolina Press, 2007): 25-35. (iCollege)

Nina Simon, The Art of Relevance (Museum 2.0, 2016).

**Site analysis assignment due

 10/17/17         Dialogue, interaction, engagement

Ruth Abram, “Kitchen Conversations: Democracy in Action at the Lower East Side Tenement Museum,” The Public Historian 29:1 (Feburary 2007): 59-76. (iCollege)

John Kuo Wei Tchen, “Creating a Dialogic Museum: The Chinatown History Museum Experiment,” in Museums and Communities: The Politics of Public Culture (Smithsonian Institution, 1992): 285-326. (iCollege)

Patrick Grossi, “’Plan or be planned for’: Temple Contemporary’s Funeral for a Home and the Politics of Engagement,” The Public Historian 37:2 (May 2015): 14-26. (iCollege)

Bryony Onciul, “Community Engagement, Curatorial Practice, and Museum Ethos in Alberta, Canada,” Museums and Communities: Curators, Collections, and Collaboration (Bloomsbury, 2013), 79-97. (ERes)

Catherine Hughes, “Is that Real? An Exploration of What is Real in a Performance Based on History,” in Enacting History, ed. Scott Magelssen (University of Alabama Press, 2011), 134-153. (iCollege)

10/24/17         Public history and community development

Hurley, Andrew. Beyond Preservation: Using Public History to Revitalize Inner Cities (Temple University Press, 2010)

11/7/16           History and heritage in tourism and public interpretation

“Southern Comfort Levels: Race, Heritage Tourism and the Civil War in Richmond,” Marie Tyler – McGraw in Slavery and Public History: The Tough Stuff of American Memory, ed. James Oliver Horton and Lois E. Horton (The New Press, 2006), 151-168. (ERes)

Antoinette T. Jackson, Speaking for the Enslaved: Heritage Interpretation at Antebellum Plantation Sites (Left Coast Press, 2012), 21-48. (ERes)

Cathy Stanton, “Feasting on Lowell: Authority and Accommodation in Lowell’s New Cultural Economy,” in The Lowell Experiment: Public History in a Postindustrial City (University of Massachusetts Press, 2006), 185-228. (ERes)

10/31/17        no class

11/14/16         Memory, heritage, and power: Examples from South Africa

Annie E. Coombes, History After Apartheid: Visual Culture and Public Memory in a Democratic South Africa (Duke University Press, 2003).

 11/221/16       No class Thanksgiving Break

11/28/16         Work in progress

12/12/17        Group Project presentation to client

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One Response to Syllabus

  1. Pingback: Welcome to HIST 7040! | Issues and Interpretations in Public History

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